What’s so appealing about Armidale is that it’s a cosmopolitan and sophisticated urban centre located in a picturesque rural setting on the doorstep of some of the most scenic national parks in Australia.
Explore natural wonders
One of Armidale’s best kept secrets is that there are four national parks, each with extraordinary natural attractions, all within an hour’s drive from the city centre. There’s a monumental tumble of giant granite boulders to climb in the Cathedral Rock National Park. And, along the aptly named Waterfall Way, Ebor Falls in the Guy Fawkes River National Park is one of several majestic waterfalls to admire. Much of the extensive wilderness in the New England and Oxley Wild Rivers National Parks is World Heritage listed. When you spy the views from Point Lookout in the New England National Park and walk along the trails that wind through temperate rainforest there, or, hike through the spectacular gorges and encounter dramatic waterfalls and hundreds of kilometres of pristine waterways in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, you’ll see why.
Dangars Falls picnic area
A perfect bush setting on the Northern Tablelands, the Dangars Falls picnic area has dramatic views over the deep ravines and gorges of the northern edge of the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park.In spring, the cliff tops come alive with the colour of wildflowers. You might need to take a closer look, as some are only tiny. After a downpour the mighty falls come alive, plunging 120m into the ravine, filling it with mist and rainbows.After a lazy picnic lunch or barbecue, spend a relaxing afternoon by the river where the kids can dip their toes and watch the fish. Or if you feeling like stretching your legs, try McDirtys walking track. Find out more
Oxley Wild Rivers National Park
Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, near Armidale, spoils you with World Heritage-listed Gondwana rainforest, dramatic gorges and magnificent waterfalls. It’s perfect for walking, camping, bike or horse riding, and fishing.Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area features rare dry rainforest, dramatic gorges and waterfalls, extensive wilderness areas, wild and scenic rivers and an amazing array of wildlife. It’s best explored as a scenic drive along the Waterfall Way.Explore the Apsley Macleay Gorges, one of Australia’s largest gorge systems with incredible ridge top views and visit Wollomombi, the highest waterfall in NSW and a place sure to lift your spirit. Bushwalkers will love the multi-day Green Gully walk that takes in the park’s spectacular landscape and includes overnight accommodation in heritage-listed stockman’s huts. For those seeking heritage accommodation that is slightly more luxurious, East Kunderang Homestead is sure to impress.Everything in the park is best seen up close – immerse your senses and yourself in this wild place while you camp, walk, paddle, picnic, cycle, horse ride, fish or swim. Find out more
Tourist Drive 17
Wind along the picturesque Waterfall Way and through World Heritage listed national parks to the most spectacular gorges, waterfalls, crystal clear streams and views in the region.Tourist Drive 17 is named the Best of New England for good reason. From Armidale, the route takes you along the picturesque Waterfall Way (itself rated second only to the Great Ocean Road in Australia’s top drives) and through World Heritage-listed national parks to the most spectacular gorges, waterfalls, crystal clear streams and views in the region.Highlights of this trip include Gara Gorge and Wollomombi Falls in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, Point Lookout in the New England National Park, massive boulders in the Cathedral Rock National Park and Ebor Falls.You also pass through the once thriving mining towns of Hillgrove and Metz, visit a trout hatchery and stop by the calm waters of Malpas Dam. Find out more
Tourist Drive 19
Starting in Armidale, visit the New England Regional Art Museum where you can take in an outstanding permanent collection from four major artists. Then call into the Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Keeping Place where you can explore the rich Aboriginal culture through viewing the art gallery, musical section, tools and weaponry, history room, bush tucker walk and the archaeological section.Next stop is Petersons Guesthouse and Winery, just out of town. Set on the historic property of ‘Palmerston’, the Peterson family has established an award-winning guesthouse and cellar door.Continue on and follow the signs to Dangars Gorge. The spectacular gorge country is believed to have been formed over the last 12 to 15 million years as the rivers and streams cut their way down through the rock that forms the New England Plateau. Dangars Falls are spectacular after rain.After leaving Dangars Gorge, turn left into Black Lane and you’ll drive through typical New England farming country and you’ll come to the idyllic country town of Uralla with its heritage streetscape, unique shops, galleries and museums. Return to Armidale on the New England Highway a short 15 minute drive. Find out more
Gara Gorge lookout
If you like to combine an easy walk with a spectacular view then it’s time to pack the car and head to Gara Gorge lookout, accessed along Threlfall walking track. You’ll be rewarded with scenic views down the rugged gorge.From the lookout, you’ll see gum-lined valleys and steep ravines that continue to the coast. Look for brush-tailed rock wallabies sunning themselves on the outlying stone as you breathe in clean, crisp mountain air. Bring your binoculars for birdwatching as peregrine falcons and wedge-tailed eagles can sometimes be seen in the skies above.After all that fresh air and scenery, you’ll be ready for lunch, so head back to either Threlfall picnic area or the popular Blue Hole picnic area for a bush picnic or barbecue. Find out more
Fleet Adventures offer Scenic Flights, Helicopter Adventures and Warbird Adventure Flights.Their unique scenic flights and adventures take place over the spectacular Oxley Wild Rivers Gorges. These include the Gorge Discovery and Flight of the Ten Gorges.Fleet Warbirds offers Warbird Adventure Flights in either a Boeing Stearman, T6 Texan or the exhilarating L39 Albatross Jet over the same spectacular gorge country. If you want to spice things up, aerobatics are also offered in these awesome flying machines, so you’ll feel the ‘G’ forces just like the wartime pilots did back in the day.People from all walks of life are now able to experience some of the deepest gorges and least known terrain in Australia. Find out more
Halls Peak campground and picnic area
If you really love getting as far away as possible from civilisation, then Halls Peak campground and picnic area is about as rugged and remote as you can get. Accessed on a dirt track that will test your driving skills, you’ll arrive deep in the heart of the wild gorge country of New England.If you’re lucky you might have the place to yourself, with your only neighbours the wallabies and bandicoots. Cook your catch over a woodfire barbecue and then settle in for an evening round the campfire.When you’re not relaxing, there’s plenty to keep you active; swimming, fishing and canoeing will get you into the wilderness frame of mind, and you’ll soon forget what stress feels like. Find out more
McDirtys Walking Track
If you like to combine wildlife, waterfalls and birdwatching with an energetic trek, then try the McDirtys walking track. Following the gorge ridge, you can see impressive views of falls country of the northern section of the World Heritage-listed Oxley Wild Rivers National Park from a number of lookouts.At the lookout directly above Dangar Falls, you’ll be spritzed by crystal clear mist after a heavy downpour. Passing heathlands and dry gums, look for eastern grey kangaroos relaxing in the shade, as well as scrub wrens, treecreepers and crimson rosellas.From the spectacular Rock Wallaby lookout, you’ll see unending scenic views of the deep river gouged ravines. Keep your eye out for the rare gorge wattle that clings to the steep cliffs.Soak up the big open spaces over a packed lunch at any of the lookouts or head back to Dangar Falls picnic area. Find out more
Threlfall Walking Track
When it’s time to embrace the great outdoors, Threlfall walking track in Gara Gorge in the northern section of Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, is the breath of fresh air you crave. This medium length track traces the gorge ridge and combines an historic walk with jaw-dropping views.Gara Gorge follows the route of the historic 1894 hydro-electric scheme, along old embankments and through ancient cuttings of granite. At Gara Gorge lookout high above Gara River, with a backdrop of majestic blackbutt and spotted gums, gaze across the rugged New England wilderness.There’s great birdwatching along this easy walk, so keep an eye out for rosellas, lyrebirds, and king parrots. You might even strike it lucky and see a koala having a snack in a gum tree. Ready for lunch? head back to either Threlfall picnic area or nearby Blue Hole picnic area. Find out more
Explore culture and heritage
It comes as no surprise then to find there’s a lively appreciation of the arts here. The New England Conservatorium, New England Regional Art Museum, Hoskins Centre, Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Keeping Place, the University and a talented crowd of local and visiting musicians, artists, actors and enthusiasts ensure that the calendar is chock full of inspiring events and festivals.
The past has a place in modern-day Armidale. Gracious cathedrals and stately buildings dating from the 1860s reflect the lofty aspirations of the early settlers and remain a hive of activity today. But the best way to learn about the history of the city is to hop onboard a free Armidale Heritage Tour bus for an entertaining 2½ hour narrated sightseeing jaunt that takes in the most important sites.
Armidale is home to the University of New England, an institution that has attracted students and faculty from across the globe since its establishment as a university college in 1938, is a major reason for the sophisticated, cosmopolitan feel about the place. With the University, TAFE, four prestigious private schools as well as public schools all achieving results, Armidale is also widely known as a centre of education excellence.
Only a ten minute drive out of town is Saumarez Homestead, a great place to experience 19th-century pastoral life. It’s best to allow at least half a day to explore this gem of a National Trust property that remains virtually unchanged from the old days when a workforce of many families with all sorts of skills made the homestead almost self-sufficient. Most of the food was grown, harvested or slaughtered on the property. Trees were felled to provide wood for cooking, heating and building. Water was pumped from the wells or the creek. Transport was supplied by station-bred horses, shod from the on-site blacksmith’s shop with its leather bellows and anvil.
New England Regional Art Museum
The New England Regional Art Museum (NERAM) is the public regional gallery located in Armidale in the heart of the New England North West region of New South Wales.Visitors to NERAM can experience exhibitions drawn from three important collections of Australian art: the Howard Hinton Collection, the Chandler Coventry Collection and the NERAM Collection. Together they offer a comprehensive overview of Australian art history unmatched in regional Australia.These art collections include significant works by Australian and international artists such as Arthur Streeton, Tom Roberts, Elioth Gruner, Margaret Preston, Brett Whiteley, James Gleeson, Tony Tuckson and Christo, to name just a few.The Gallery also shows touring exhibitions from around Australia and the work of artists from the New England region.Discover the delicious art of food at the NERAM Cafe and browse for gifts and souvenirs at the Museum Shop.Go behind the scenes with an Art Storeroom tour at NERAM, discover artworks by leading Australian artists with an experienced volunteer guide. A great opportunity for social, educational, community, cultural and business groups and clubs. Groups only and bookings essential. Charges apply.Function bookings also available for meetings and events.Entry by donation. Find out more
Armidale and Region Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Keeping Place
The Armidale and Region Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Keeping Place showcases a diverse range of Australian Indigenous arts and culture.Visitors can view articles of interest from New England and exhibits from regional NSW. Touring exhibitions from major galleries and museums are also a feature of their program.Traditional Aboriginal paintings are for sale all year round and the well-stocked gift shop offers Aboriginal artefacts and gifts.The centre also offers cultural tours, and run a wide range of Aboriginal cultural activities in their workshops. While entry to the centre is free, cultural tours and Aboriginal cultural activities do attract a cost. Bookings are essential and minimum numbers apply for these activities.For more information please contact the Centre on the number supplied. Find out more
Saumarez Homestead, a historic country homestead and ten-hectare property, was first inhabited by British settlers led by Henry Dumaresq in the 1830s. Today it includes an elegant, fully furnished Edwardian mansion, built between 1888 and 1906, and 15 farm and other buildings dating up to 1910, with their collections of early farm equipment.In 1874 the property was purchased by Francis White, whose eldest son, Francis John White took over management, spending his life developing Saumarez and its associated holdings into one of the largest and most successful rural properties of New England.Bring a picnic and enjoy a stroll through the extensive English-style gardens and Mary White’s garden, with its Jocelyn Brown-style cottage garden, the picking garden, lawns and Heritage Rose Garden with over 600 heritage roses, which is looked after by the Australian Garden History Society. Find out more
Armidale Heritage Tours
The Guided Heritage Tour is a two and a half – three hour taster of Armidale. You will be taken on a historical journey through Armidale with a lively and personal commentary from one of the tour guides.There are four opportunities to alight from the bus – at the New England Regional Art Museum, Aboriginal Cultural Centre, and the University of New England’s historic Booloominbah Homestead.In between these stops, as you drive slowly past, you will be given the descriptions and history of many of the old and beautiful buildings that grace the City of Armidale. Some of the buildings that you will see include cathedrals and churches, private and public schools, historic hotels and public buildings, monuments and memorials. These buildings are all within viewing distance of the bus and your guide will tell you their entertaining and interesting stories.Bookings are recommended, the tour operates on donations. Not suitable for children under four.Contact the Visitor Information Centre on the phone number provided to make a booking. Find out more
Armidale Teachers College
Built from 1928 – 1930, the heritage-listed Armidale Teachers’ College is an impressive building surrounded by formal gardens high on a hill overlooking the city of Armidale.The College was built to train school teachers for country service and played an important part in the establishment of the University of New England.The building has social and cultural significance to many thousands of teaching, nursing, and other adult education students who graduated from the College, as well as the many academic and administrative staff who have worked there since 1929.Many of the building’s heritage features remain intact, featuring Australian timbers, terrazzo stairs and parquetry floors, and a commanding foyer and staircase leading to the first-floor auditorium. Find out more
Armidale Folk Museum
Tracing its origins back to 1933 the Armidale Folk Museum is housed in the magnificent 1863 Armidale Literary Institute and explores the history of the region.A wide range of exhibits show everyday life and work in the past and the citizen’s solemn sacrifice in times of war.Permanent displays provide a glimpse into how the region was settled in the 1840s and its development into a thriving agricultural area and provider of education. A changing program of diverse exhibitions and events tells stories significant to the community.Visitors marvel at the White family’s large English coach, used by the State Governor during his tour of Armidale more than a century ago. A wide range of exhibits shows everyday life and work in the past and the citizen’s solemn sacrifice in times of war.From the humble child’s doll carved in wood by her settler father to the grand Buchanan Silver Tea service, presented by grateful citizens in 1879, the museum has something for everyone. Find out more
Explore a new destination for great food and drink
If you’re wondering where to eat, stylish cafés buzz with activity and serve up great coffee and delicious meals all day. Restaurants, clubs and pubs also offer a wide range of contemporary Australian and international cuisines, often featuring food and wine produced in the surrounding countryside.
Making the most of the fresh air is easy to do in Armidale. Here, for example, you can enjoy energetic outdoor pursuits in nearby national parks, or a challenging round of golf on Armidale Golf Club’s 18-hole championship course, where you’ll also be surrounded by peaceful bushland and the odd kangaroo. The Club has a resident professional on hand to help you improve your stroke or choose the right gear, and a restaurant where relaxing over drinks or a meal finishes off a great day out on the greens.
The Welders Dog Armidale
Experience a huge range of craft beverages, local, regional, and international craft beers and local award-winning wines and spirits.They are all about a culture of experience – the experience of new tastes, new brewers and a new atmosphere.They also believe in supporting independent brewers and local wineries and you’ll find an ever changing list of Australian producers on tap and in their fridge. Find out more
Petersons Armidale Guesthouse and Winery
The historic homestead, originally named ‘Palmerston’ was built in 1911 and it has been lovingly restored in line with traditional architecture.Owners Colin and Judy Peterson and their team would love to welcome you to the property, whether to stay at the guesthouse, to join them for a wine tasting or lunch at the cellar door on weekends, or for a special occasion such as your wedding day or anniversary function. Petersons Armidale Guesthouse is so proud that they get to share this beautiful pocket of NSW history with you.During your stay, explore the region or stroll through the vineyard, enjoy lunch and wine at The Cellar Door Restaurant on weekends, showcasing the very best produce New England has to offer. They are fully licensed, stocking Peterson’s Cool Climate, Mudgee and Hunter Valley wines along with sparkling wines from Peterson House. Their dining room at the guesthouse is open for dinner seven days a week and welcomes visitors from town as well as in house guests. Find out more
Great Hops Brewing Co.
Their goal at the Great Hops Brewery Armidale is to make amazing, flavourful beers.Great Hops Brewing co is not here to reinvent the wheel, but they are here to make good beer great. Their focus is to take classic styles of beer from around the world and put their unique Australian spin on them.Think American beer culture with waffle fries, wings and slow-cooked brisket, partnered with a solid range of IPA, ale, stout, lager and a few German classics. Find out more
Azka Tapas Restaurant and Bar
Azka Restaurant and the Wine and Tapas Bar at Rydges Armidale are some of the most exciting restaurants and bars in Armidale.The cosmopolitan Azka Restaurant features a selection of Mediterranean-inspired dishes that showcase the finest seasonal produce from the New England region. Azka includes a well-sourced menu of beautifully cooked dishes that will appeal to every taste and dietary needs can be catered for with ease.Enter the intimate Wine and Tapas Bar downstairs and relax in one of the coveted leather lounges or slip into a comfy nook surrounded by dozens of great drops. It is the perfect place to escape from the every day and enjoy a signature cocktail, local craft beer or glass of wine. Match your vino with a delicious selection of modern tapas. The global roaming tapas menu encourages casual and social dining.Open for breakfast and dinner, their sophisticated eatery provides exemplary service and a vibrant setting with well-spaced tables for you to relax and unwind. Find out more
The Goldfish Bowl
As unmistakable as the coffee, you simply cannot miss the exterior of The Goldfish Bowl even when it is nestled away on a quiet street. With its unique courtyard covered with grape vines in the warmer months and its trendy interior reminiscent of a Melbourne Laneway cafe The Goldfish Bowl will not disappoint the cafe connoisseur.Their organic bread made and baked traditionally on the hot bricks of the oven floor is full of flavour and uniqueness that simply has to be tasted.The Café sources its produce from local suppliers who provide fresh sustainable ingredients. The magnificent wood-fired oven is a sight to behold and is lit daily to provide the heat for the coming day.On Friday lunch and dinner the oven really becomes the star of the show when it’s used to produce amazing woodfired pizzas. Find out more
Tattersalls Restaurant and Pizza Garden
The Tattersalls Hotel is your premier destination within the New England. Tattersalls brings you a variety of eating choices and venues within the hotel. You can choose from a fine dining meal in the restaurant to a more leisurely meal outdoors in the Pizza Garden. Find out more
Café Patisserie offers a large range of freshly baked pastries and cakes.Café Patisserie is a buzzing small venue with a great French twist. It is a great place for cultural diversity and new tastes. Throughout the week, they also serve homemade quiches and pies.People love to come and enjoy warm butter croissants along with medium roast coffee. They do their best to source local products in order to help their community thrive. Find out more